The Web has arrived–in terms of offering sound, educational advice for restaurants and bars, especially crucial when it comes to dealing with the finicky world of wine consumers. So the next time a customer stumps a server with a question about a wine’s appellation, staffers won’t be stuck surfing through a morass of wine-geek Web sites searching for the answer. Thanks to several new sites, your staff can confidently click to more comprehensive, reliable wine resources on the Web.
One such resource made its way to the Web recently, when Allied Domecq launched The Wine Spot (thewinespot.com), a site consisting of excerpts gathered from “The University Wine Course,” the highly touted wine textbook by Dr. Mario Baldy.
Dan Solomon, director of public relations for ADV Wines says that Wine Spot “is, in essence, a generic site that will enable users–consumers, servers and retailers–to burrow into topics like merlot or malolactic fermentation as deeply as they like.” And, he adds, “It’s one of the first wine sites with objective, generic information.”
Generic doesn’t mean boring, however. A trip to Wine Spot‘s “The Web’s Best Wine Guide” can tell a server everything from how to use a cork opener and information on specific growing regions, to in-depth discussion of the sensory evaluation of wines. To survey the ground rules of wine and food matching, head to “The Web’s Best Food and Wine Guide.” And, if staff members wants to know why wine patrons continually refer to a wine’s organoleptic elements, they can click a clue at the site’s “The Web’s Best Dictionary.”
To access the full site, first-time visitors must fill in their address and other information, set up a password and answer several questions about wine consumption. Afterwards, the Web master will e-mail you a confirmation of registration, along with your user name. Enter that and the password you set up during registration, and you’re ready to become a full-blooded student of the online wine university.
Solomon says Wine Spot will continue to develop its content; look for information on Napa and Sonoma Valley happenings.
On Wine Detail
Once the basics of food and wine pairing have been dispensed to your staff, it’s time to get down and dirty with the specifics of wine consumption. Want to know more about California wines? Try Wine Today (winetoday.com), a New York Times Company affiliate that is updated daily, offering consumer and industry news, features on wineries and industry personalities, a database on wine information and a comprehensive listing of nationwide events. The site also features several California wines per week, complete with tasting notes on the wine’s aroma, flavor, color and overall experience.
Visitors can surf through the site’s 3,000 archived reviews by varietal, regions, price or rating, or click on the Virtual Sommelier to find other wines with characteristics mirroring those of a featured wine.
If you want to know what’s going on with a specific winery, the site also supports a database of California wineries. And it doesn’t stop there. The site hosts a chat room and a bulletin board for posting questions. And, there’s a chance for you to win one of several contests.
Cheers doesn’t recommend you write off other wine sites, however. Get to know your wine companies; check out Canandaigua’s brands on its site (cwine.com), A.V. Imports (avimports.com) and Marie Brizard (mariebrizardusa.com).
Other sites to bookmark include one from Wine Brats (winebrats.org), the national organization for the younger generation of wine drinkers. Bung! Online, the organization’s internet voice, offers pithy “Wine Reviews for Real Life.” Good winery sites, include Delicato.com from Delicato Vineyards, Mo